At the Post meeting on August 18, Monica McNeal, President of Washington Gold Star Mothers gave the Post an update on the group’s efforts. She reminded us of their mission statement:
“Finding strength in the fellowship of other Gold Star Mothers who strive to keep the memory of our sons and daughters alive by working to help veterans, those currently serving in the military, their families and our communities.” Gold Star Mothers are, of course, those whose sons or daughters have been killed in service to their country.
McNeal then introduced Tennis de Jong, USMC veteran and a member of the Monument Committee, who presented an overview of the Gold Star Family Monument program. At the upper left is a photo of the Monument, one of which will be installed at Lynnwood’s Veteran Park in 2022. This Monument is sponsored by the Gold Star Mothers and the Hershel “Woody” Williams Foundation. These monuments help Gold Star Families and the community to remember and to see that their loved ones will not be forgotten.
On the morning of Saturday September 11, 2021 a group of fire fighters, veterans and interested Edmonds citizens gathered in a rather impromptu and unrehearsed observance of the morning of one of the nation’s great tragedies that, over the next twenty years resulted in some of our greatest moments and some would say some of our worst.
The City of Edmonds had earlier planned a 20th anniversary observance, but later announced its cancellation in response to the latest COVID outbreaks. A few of us from VFW Post 8870, along with other veterans and a group of firefighters gathered to say a few words and hold a flag ceremony, accompanied by a Fire Department bagpiper. Retired Edmonds Police office/ bugler Debbie Dawson played taps.
Those attending from the post included Commander Carl Kurfess, Past Commanders Jim Traner and Mike Denton, Chaplain Dan Doyle and Mike Reagan.
Mike Schindler, of Operation Military Families, Monica McNeal of Washington Gold Star Mothers, local businessman & city council candidate Will Chen and Chaplain Doyle said a few words. (City Council Candidate Janelle Cass was also present)
The flag ceremony was lead by Dave “Bronco” Erickson. Erickson, a retired fire fighter, led in the acquisition of the steel from ground zero and the building of the 9/11 Memorial next to the downtown fire station.
The 9/11 Memorial Golf Fund will hold fundraising events each year in honor of the anniversary of September 11 through a series of events that include fundraising efforts and collaborative events. This year’s kick-off is a Text-to-Give campaign. Those who wish to give are encouraged to donate $9.11 by texting “911 GOLF” to 91999 now through Dec. 31, 2021.
On Saturday, Aug. 28, Post Commander Carl Kurfess, along with Chaplain Doyle and Past Commander Mike Denton, attended the Eagle Scout Court of Honor to present the new Eagles with VFW recognition certificates as an additional honor. The Scouts are shown in the above photo at left and are, left to right, Michael Frary, Ethen Moore, Colin Thorpe and Max Alevarado.
The event was arranged by Chaplain Doyle, a close friend of Alverado’s father, who is a troop leader. Denton, not shown,, was acting as photographer and was gratified to recall the father of Colin Thorpe as a member of the Cub Scout Pack of which he was once Cubmaster.
If you have read your September issue of VFW Magazine, you will have seen the article introducing the new membership badge, shown at left. This badge is a “throwback” to earlier badges worn by members in the 1920s and 30s and was developed by Department of Illinois Commander Bobby Welch, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer and Iraq War Veteran. Welch worked on the design under the direction of current Commander-In-Chief Mathew M. “Fritz” Mihelcic.
While the membership badge looks like a military medal awarded to troops,Welch stressed that the badges are not meant to be given as an award. “All members of VFW are authorized to wear this badge” Welch said. “If you are a VFW member, you are entitled to and deserving of wearing this badge.
Shown with the badge in this image at left is the Life Member bar, also available as Legacy, Gold Legacy, Silver Legacy and Bronze Life bars.
Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II
Kindle Edition by Daniel James Brown
“They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and the ways of America. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. And within months many would themselves be living behind barbed wire.
Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Daniel James Brown’s extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese-American families and their sons, who volunteered for 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible.”
At times, a difficult read, simply because of the profound bigotry demonstrated to these dedicated young Americans, who became some of the most decorated soldiers of WWII, but hang in there, it’s worth the
Back in the early part of the Afghan War, along with the Iraq War, the veterans coming home were welcomed by the people of the United States with enthusiasm and with much honor and respect. It was the kind of welcome that we Vietnam veterans never received. Those Afghan and Iraq veterans understood that and, in many cases, reached out to we Vietnam Veterans to express their respect and honor for us, now knowing themselves the realities of war and the sacrifices that are made on the battlefield for one another. For Vietnam veterans, the generosity and respect those younger veterans offered to us, gave us for the first time, real feelings of acceptance, of recognition, of having done something noble in our own war. After almost 50 years, we started openly wearing our baseball caps emblazoned with our units or with the words “Vietnam Veteran” on them. For the first time, we started having people come up to us to actually thank us for our service. It is time for us Vietnam veterans to return the favor and to stand by our Afghan Veterans. We need to tell them with confidence, from experience, that what they did was not only noble, good and effective, but that their sacrifices counted for a great deal of good for the Afghan people. Their service and sacrifice is meaningful, it was noble in purpose. They stood up for one another, they cared for and defended the Afghans, they honored their duties to the nation, their services and to their fellow warriors to the left and to the right of them in the field of battle. They upheld the dignity, the esprit de corps and the honor of American military history. They can hold their heads up high knowing that their service was not in vain. They did not lose the war, just as we Vietnam veterans did not lose our war. Those who fought in the field, those who supported the troops on the ground from the rear, all of those who served in Afghanistan answered the call and took the risks and made the sacrifices that military service to the nation requires of those who have the courage and the commitment to give of themselves for causes greater than themselves. You are to be honored, each and every one of you.
(Ed. Note: The foregoing is an excerpt from an article which Chaplain Doyle published in his blog recently. We felt it to be representative of the feelings of a lot of us, as the country exits Afghanistan.)
At left are shown the attendees of the 2021 Department School of Instruction. The Post was represented by Commander Carl Kurfess and Surgeon Bryan Rowe.
The event is intended to provide incoming Post officers with the tools to perform their new office effectively. Other members of our command staff are experienced in their respective positions and have attended previous sessions.
Gary Walderman reports that the Heroes Cafe will have several veteran-centric, separate and distinct happenings in September and they are looking for your assistance and/or participation.
By the time this newsletter is published, the first event on Sept. 11, observing the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will have passed. Hopefully, you will all have had an opportunity to participate in this, or some other 9/11 event
Tuesday, Sept. 14.Heroes Cafe Shoreline takes place at the Shoreline Scottish Rites Masonic Center, 1207 N 152nd. St in shoreline, from 1000-1300 hours.
Saturday, Sept 18, Veterans and Community Resource Fair at the Heroes Cafe Lynnwood location, 6519 188th St. SW, Lynnwood, 1100-1400. The event will identify available resources for Snohomosh county residents. There will also be a pinning ceremony where veterans will be honored and celebrated for their service to our country. Volunteers are need to help with set-up, traffic control, etc. with set-up to begin at 1000 hours.
Tuesday, Sept 28. Heroes Cafe, Lynnwood, 0830-1300, at the church at 6519 188th St. SW.
On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Post will hold a second event at the Edmonds Summer Market. Poppies will be distributed and membership materials made available to interested and qualified veterans who may be visiting the market.
We need a few members to help man the booth, which will operate from 9:00 am until 2:30 pm. Volunteers are also needed to set up our tent and table and return them to the Legion Hall in the afternoon.
Sign up at the Post meeting on the evening of Sept. 15.